One increasingly popular form of meditation is loving-kindness meditation (LKM), the practice of wishing one’s self and others to be happy, content, and at ease. In the yoga tradition, loving-kindness is seen as an opportunity to “cultivate the opposite.” Where many meditation techniques encourage students to explore difficult feelings or emotions directly, in loving-kindness, the [...]
Jennifer Mattson, guest blogger “By firmly grasping the flower of a single virtue, a person can lift the entire garland of yama and niyama.” —Swami Kripalu The yamas and niyamas are yoga’s ethical guidelines laid out in the first two limbs of Patanjali’s eightfold path. They’re like a map written to guide you on your [...]
Last winter I bought my dream car, a gently used Toyota Prius, because my friend was selling it for a tempting price and our ‘98 Corolla was aging rather ungracefully. I kept my new acquisition off the road for a few months in order to save on car insurance, because I worked from home, my [...]
With the current buzz around yoga injuries, it’s a good time to revisit the concept of the edge, a core component of Kripalu Yoga. The edge is that precise place in a posture where the body finds its optimal stretch and the mind is fully present. Pushing too far brings strain to the body and [...]
Micah Mortali, guest blogger, Kripalu Yoga teacher, and manager of the Kripalu Volunteer Program Pratyahara, or turning inward, is one of the eight limbs of classical yoga, and it has always been an important part of my practice: diving deep and exploring my internal landscapes, observing what can be seen when the eyes close and the [...]
By Danna Faulds, guest blogger My first yoga teacher introduced me to the Forward Bend in the summer of 1983. Until that afternoon, I’d never paid much attention to my hamstrings, but I quickly made their acquaintance. If I kept my spine elongated and rotated my hip joints as my teacher, Sue, instructed, I could [...]
Where we look for answers to this question can make all the difference between fantasies and dreams come true.
I’ve been teaching at Kripalu for more than 15 years now—and throughout most of that time, I’ve been Kripalu’s Senior Scholar-in-Residence. Each year, I teach hundreds of people in hatha yoga programs, in yoga philosophy programs, and in personal growth programs. Sometimes I feel like I’ve inadvertently landed on one of the great pilgrimage routes of modern times, seeing—as we do here at Kripalu—a river of more than 32,000 contemporary seekers a year: modern versions, sometimes, of the ribald seekers of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales or the more innocent characters of Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress.
Each of these contemporary pilgrims brings along his or her own story, of course, and each story is compelling. But over the years I’ve come to see that these stories, unique as they are on the surface, often have one central longing at their core, one insistent question: How can I live fully?
Our seekers phrase this question in so many different ways: How can I live a passionate and authentic human life? How can I discover the full potential of this human mind, body, spirit?
That girl isn’t pretty enough to be that annoying.
WHAT? WHAT did you just think? Who ARE you?
Oh, right. I’m me. Hi. My name is Valerie and I have a judgmental brain feed that reads like a cross between Mean Girls,The Hangover, and Heathers. It’s stunning to me. But there it is. Judge, judge, judge, all the livelong day.
Swami Kripalu once said, “Every time you judge yourself you break your own heart.” I’m pretty sure that judging others also breaks our heart. That’s partly because we bear the brunt of the poison that burbles up to form a negative judgment, and partly because we’re all energetically connected. I’m convinced that, on some level,we feel each other’s psychic barbs, especially if we intentionally throw them. They’re also the seeds of violence and war.
Harsh, constant judging creates barriers—which at times can actually be helpful. When judgments protect us from maniacs who cause harm, that’s good (yep, I’m judging!). But we also use judgments to protect our hearts from other scary things, like, you know, love. If I’m judging you, then I don’t have to take you in. I don’t have to need you. I don’t have to be vulnerable to you. I’m tough—I’ve got my barbed wire thoughts and they’re protecting me! (Or not.)